P.S. I got my clear retainer for the top teeth - another $425, but luckily again...covered. I can't drink or eat with it, so it's in and out a lot. The metal retainers on the insides of my uppers and lowers will stay on FOREVER. DO NOT... repeat... DO NOT let your orthodontist convince you that you don't need it after a period of time. You will ALWAYS need it. Several formerly braced individuals who had theirs removed have convinced me (as well as my orthodontist) to never remove these. If you want your teeth to remain straight, keep them in. You can't even notice / feel them. It's a total no-brainer. The clear retainer by the way, needs to be worn for one year. My orthodontist said that if I can wear it constantly for 6 weeks, and then every night for a year, he'll be happy. Most people put it in the drawer when told they have to wear it 24/7 for a whole year, so he let me off the hook on this one. I'm happy to oblige.
A couple other things - as for the elastics post-surgery, I wore them religiously. I really did keep them on for 7 months - 4 months day and night, 3 months night only. I think this did some good in terms of speeding the de-bracing process.
Cheers, all. I will post again after the crown lengthening.